High Flying Bird: Live at the Monterey Festival

Jefferson Airplane

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High Flying Bird: Live at the Monterey Festival Review

by Al Campbell

In 1967 the Monterey Pop Festival not only launched the careers of several legends of late-'60s rock including Jimi Hendrix, the Who, Janis Joplin and Otis Redding, but also highlighted the San Francisco sound led by the Jefferson Airplane. Their eight-song set from Saturday evening June 17, 1967 is captured in its entirety on High Flying Bird: Live at the Monterey Festival. In hindsight, when compared to their elongated early morning, acid-jamming at Woodstock two years later, or the debacle that was Altamont, this is the Airplane simultaneously peaking and ushering in the Summer of Love. It's still amazing to hear the unique blending of Grace Slick and Marty Balin's vocals on tracks like "Today" and "She Has Funny Cars" as they both had powerful voices, incredible range and the elegance to fluidly harmonize with ease. Previously these performances made their way onto compilations, box sets and bootlegs; although the U.K. label Magnum had released this material in the mid-'90s, the 2007 Music Avenue edition has superior sound quality. Of the eight tracks, half are taken from the Surrealistic Pillow album, two are folk tunes -- "Other Side of This Life" and "High Flying Bird" -- and the finale previews two cuts from the then unreleased After Bathing at Baxter's album, "Young Girl Sunday Blues" and "Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil."

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